State-run channel skips PM's address, sparks controversy

Sparking controversy, the state-run Education Channel in Kerala, ruled by Congress-led UDF, skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Teachers' Day address to school children even as hundreds of children, mostly in private schools, watched the event.

PTI| Updated: Sep 05, 2014, 21:02 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Sparking controversy, the state-run Education Channel in Kerala, ruled by Congress-led UDF, skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Teachers' Day address to school children even as hundreds of children, mostly in private schools, watched the event.

Though Kerala government had made it clear that it was not compulsory for schools to make arrangements to carry live the Prime Minister's message to children, many school managements showed the event by making their own arrangements.

While there was no official explanation on why the live telecast by the state-run channel decided against telecast of the event, sources at IT@school, which operates the channel, said though they had made all arrangments to provide links to schools the telecast was cancelled at the last minute, apparently on word from higher-ups.

Children in a majority of government schools, which depended on Victers channel, could not watch the programme as the channel did not air the event in the last minute.

A teacher in a government school said though the children were assembled for watching the live telecast of the Prime Minister's programme, it was some other programme that the channel beamed at the time.

BJP in the state came out strongly against the channel's failure alleging it was deliberately sabotaged by the Education Department.

"This was part of the communal agenda of the Indian Union Muslim League, which handles the education portfolio in the ministry," state BJP president V Muraleedharan told reporters.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), to which Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb belongs, has criticised the circular issued by Director of Public Instructions to schools for making arrangments for the event.

Though Rabb had said the government was not against telecast of the event, schools have freedom to decide on the matter.

Even though most schools were closed for the 10-day Onam vacation, a large number of children and teachers thronged their institutions in the afternoon to listen to the message of Modi and get a chance to ask him a question.

Director of Public Instructions Gopala Krishna Bhat told PTI that since the state government had already made it clear that it was not compulsory for schools to live telecast the PM's adress, the Education Department had not made any arrangements for monitoring the schools.